My cousin Matt & I trekked to NYC from Philly on Tuesday, February 26 to see Bob Mould & his band play at the Bowery Ballroom. This fact alone is not noteworthy, but how the two of us ended up going and the ensuing experiences of the evening are pretty cool. Enjoy the recap.
Last fall, Bob announced he was doing a Kickstarter project for his “Disney Concert Hall Film”. This is a star studded tribute to the legacy of Bob’s music, performed by musicians such as Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters, Britt Daniel from Spoon, Craig Finn/Tad Kubler (the Hold Steady), Ryan Adams (awesome) and others. Bob finished the night playing some of his own songs. Quite a cool thing.
I had mentioned to my wife Meredith that I thought the Kickstarter project was a really cool idea and donating to it would be a great way to not only support original music, but support an artist I hold in high esteem and has had an impact on me since I was a kid. It didn’t get much beyond a philosophical discussion on music and what it must be like to try to fund something like that. Or so I thought.
Meredith got together with my cousin Matt’s wife Elinor and they surprised the hell out of us with a very special Christmas present. Different levels of contributions yielded things like a t-shirt from the film and a digital download for $25. Matt and I got a package of 2 tickets to any future Bob Mould show, a meet & greet before the show with Bob, a physical copy of the concert DVD and a digital download. To say I was floored is an understatement. What a cool, special gift with meaning and connection. I say to Meredith & Elinor, thank you!
We get off the subway in the East Village, walk a few blocks to the Bowery and hear the band sound checking “Circles” into “Ego Override” and it sounds great.
Grab some dinner next door at a bar and enjoy the deviled eggs with slab bacon and get ready to meet Bob and the band. Both Matt and I have met Bob in the past at shows, but just brief conversations, nothing of substance. Tonight, we’ll have 20 minutes or so. So many questions, so little time and trying not to come across as a total dork. Hmmm….what to ask.
Bottom line, Bob is a super nice guy. Matt & I told him how we came to be at the show, he told us about the project and how he pulled off the Kickstarter, we talked about the upcoming tour and he was genuinely thrilled by the support of all his fans that contributed to get the film made. Jason Narducy (bass) and Jon Wurster (drums) stopped by for a few minutes, too. Turns out Jon was born in the hospital a mile from where I live, small world comments, he knows a friend of mine in the Chapel Hill NC area (hi Doug Edmunds). In short, I was heaven, didn’t make an idiot out of myself and had fun discussions. Such a neat experience.
The Bowery Ballroom is not a huge venue (400 or so capacity?) and it was packed. Bear in Heaven opened, who Bob commented had the best album of 2012. Interesting music I’d describe as house/trance/shoe gazer oddness with very heavy bass and a maniacal drummer. The bass player had a great porn-stache and the singer/keyboard/synth/loop player reminded me of Bryan Ferry and Perry Farrell. Go figure, right?
Then it was time for Bob. And below is what he performed. Rollicking show, a little sloppy at points, which I actually enjoy. Lots of joy onstage. And I totally lost myself for 75 minutes amongst all those people and it was fantastic. Highlights for me were “Round the City Square” and really all the Silver Age material. When he launched into “Flip Your Wig” I knew he was digging deep. And to end the night, AFTER “Makes No Sense”, Jon Wurster had a huge smile on his face, counted off on his sticks and Bob exploded into “Divide & Conquer”. Oh, and Bob spacing on the lyrics to “Ego Override” was quite funny. Even Bob was laughing. Watching the intense I interaction of Jason & Jon all night was great, too.
The Act We Act (Sugar song)
A Good Idea (Sugar song)
Changes (Sugar song)
Helpless (Sugar song)
Hoover Dam (Sugar song)
Round the City Square
Fortune Teller (Sugar song)
Steam of Hercules
Hardly Getting Over It (Hüsker Dü song)
One Good Reason
I Apologize (Hüsker Dü song)
Chartered Trips (Hüsker Dü song)
If I Can’t Change Your Mind (Sugar song)
Flip Your Wig (Husker Du Song)
Hate Paper Doll (Husker Du song)
Divide & Conquer (Husker Du song)
Makes No Sense At All (Husker Du song)
Long night. Great, fairly exhausting show. Tons of energy from the band, smiles all around the stage. Then we missed our last train out of the city back to Newark where my car was. But, that’s another story……